Ashley Young: Team spirit was essential in winning Champions League place
Ashley Young is playing with a smile on his face once again, having gone from outsider to key man at Manchester United this term.
The 29-year-old's days at Old Trafford looked numbered not so long ago, yet he has ingratiated himself with United fans with some standout displays.
Young has become a key figure under Louis van Gaal and produced another fine display on Saturday, playing a key role in both goals as Crystal Palace were overcome 2-1.
"I'm enjoying my football, playing regularly," the winger said. "I want to play well and give my input into the team - I feel like I'm doing that.
"The penalty came from my cross and Felli scored from my cross. I'm delighted with that but it's a team game.
"We've got great team spirit and another two cup finals to go."
Those games see United welcome Arsenal and play embattled Hull before the season is out - matches David de Gea will hope will be quieter than the trip to Selhurst Park.
Palace attacked with increased intensity after Jason Puncheon cancelled out Juan Mata's dubious penalty, only to find the United keeper, not the first time this season, in fine form.
De Gea's point-blank save from Glenn Murray was particularly impressive and allowed United to eventually go on and win through Marouane Fellaini's late header.
"He's been making save after save for us and that one today was vitally important," Young said.
"Maybe that spurred us on to get the winning goal. It was fantastic and I thanked him after the game.
"We went in 1-0 up and we knew they were going to come out in the second half and put us under pressure.
"They did that for pretty much the whole of the second half. We had to dig deep and defend as a team, and that's exactly what we've done."
The performance in south London epitomised United's first season under Van Gaal - unconvincing at times but ultimately effective.
That cutting edge means United look set to return to the Champions League next season and Young says a strong team bond is being built.
"That's the way we play - that's the Manchester United way," he said.
"The team spirit, the character that we've got to keep ourselves going. The big man got himself in the box and got on the end of one of our crosses.
"We're delighted to get that goal. Everybody was celebrating together and I think the bench went crazy as well.
"After the game, the scenes in the dressing room were fantastic."
The emotions in the opposing dressing room were understandably different.
Palace goalscorer Puncheon felt a number of decisions went against his side, making the 2-1 loss particularly "tough to take".
"We did really well in the second half and created some good chances," he said.
"They've got a great goalkeeper at the top of his game and he pulled off some great saves and kept them in the game.
"That's why he plays for one of the best teams in the world and is rated as one of the best," he added.